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Posts Tagged ‘food-nerd’

I love working with folks around food choices, exercise goals and weight loss and most often what we talk about is behavior change.  It starts like this…

“I want to lose 20 lbs”

“I want to eat better”

“I want to avoid diabetes since it runs in my family”

And then comes the hard part– how to get there…

So often we want to make HUGE commitments (think of your last New Year’s Resolutions) but it turns out that small change over time works best.  Setting small goals that are measurable and realistic = Bite sized behavior change!

So instead of saying “I want to lose 10 pounds”, try “I will only eat dessert once a week” or “I will walk 10 minutes at lunch every day”.

Dr. BJ Fogg from Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab agrees and in fact has started a program based on tiny habits and counters the argument that change happens with “will power” and instead encourages people to make it as easy as possible by setting up your environment to promote the new behavior and attach your new “habit” to one that already exists (eg. brushing your teeth, eating a meal etc).

I love his website which you can sign up for free and pick your own 3 tiny habits to work on.

What tiny habits would you like to add to your life?

Image

Photo by zole4

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I taught this to my “Healthy Living” class last month as a way to show off the gorgeous Butter Lettuce they were growing in their Community Garden.

I love the idea of wrapping up all sorts of yummyness in a crunchy green leaf of lettuce (or cabbage) and you can either serve these as finger food at a party, serve as an appetizer or pack up a few for lunch.

Lettuce Wraps with Shiitake Mushrooms

lettucewraps_png

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings

1 8 oz. package ready-to-eat, seasoned tofu (Soy Boy’s Tofu Lin works well)
salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, to taste
soy sauce to taste
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
bean sprouts
carrot cut into fine strips
1 head lettuce, use large leaves
1/2 lemon

Directions

Stir fry chopped garlic, ginger and carrot with some water in wok for a few minutes until soft.

Add the shiitakes, soy sauce, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Cook about another 5-10 minutes, then add the dried tofu and finish up the cooking, about 2-5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into the lettuce/cabbage leaves, add a few drops of lemon juice, and roll them up!

Recipe from PCRM

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I have been really busy really lately working with a lot of new clients and especially new moms who had Gestational Diabetes (GDM) in their last pregnancy and a theme that has come up is EATING REGULARLY.   These new moms of course are busy and sometime forget to eat breakfast or go 7-8 hours without eating anything! The stress of new motherhood (or your busy workday) can over-ride your hunger cues and before you know it, when you do eat you eat way too much or just end up slowing your metabolism down and holding on to those fat stores.

Eating regularly is important for blood sugar control and this applies to everyone, not just those with GDM or Type I or II Diabetes and one way to do this is to get a healthy snack between meals so that you are not going more than 3-5 hours without eating something.

Having a healthy snack is also another opportunity to get some healthy stuff in- like fiber, protein or fruit and vegetables!  Plus having a snack with protein + fiber will keep you full longer.  Make that snack small but mighty!

How much to snack on?  Well that depends on when your next meal is going to be and how much you typically eat at a meal. A good rule of thumb is that if you are going to be eating in the next 1-2 hours, choose a smaller snack (around 50-100 calories) and if you aren’t getting to that next meal for 2-3 hours choose something a bit more substantial (around 150-200 calories).

Below are some snack ideas but even yesterday’s meal can be a snack if the portion is adjusted!

Snack ideas:

▪ Low Fat String cheese & whole-grain crackers

▪ Non/lowfat yogurt mixed w fresh fruit & 1 Tbs granola

▪ Cut-up fruit or vegetables with yogurt dip or hummus

▪ whole-wheat pita filled with hummus

▪  Corn tortilla with bean dip

▪ whole wheat tortilla filled with turkey, cheese & vegetables

▪ 1 slice whole wheat toast topped with nut butter & banana slices

▪ 1 slice of whole wheat toast with tuna salad (low fat, low sodium)

▪ Low-fat popcorn with grated Parmesan cheese or Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on top

▪ Handful of nuts mixed w a peice of fruit.

▪ Small salad topped w grilled chicken/tofu/fish (1 oz protein)

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Came home from a lovely relaxed Sunday tapas dinner with Adam at Barlata in Oakland and was hankering for a healthy dessert that I could whip up at home.

I remembered a recipe I had been saving from the weekly recipe email blasts I get (and highly recommend) from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

I whipped up the recipe in about 5 minutes and decided to add a browning banana for some extra creamyness and YUMMMMM the whole thing was delicious (and low calorie, low fat, vegan and high in Vitamin A and Beta Carotene) and a perfect dessert (or midday treat or breakfast).

My husband and father-in-law liked it too, so  I think we have a keeper!

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings  ( I halved the recipe for the 3 of us)

1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
2 cups soymilk, or to taste
2 cups ice
2 tbsp maple syrup, or to taste
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or to taste
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or to taste (alternatively, can use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

1 banana (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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I get a lot of vegans in my private practice– and they usually are thrilled that I can reassure them that YES a vegan diet can be amazingly healthy and then we go over there food choices together and make sure they are getting all the macro and micronutrients they need.

One that often comes up is Calcium (Ca+).  Sure we have been brainwashed into thinking that we can only get calcium from a milk mustache but actually there are plenty of vegan sources to get your RDA (for men and women under 50 years old that’s 1000mg and if you are > 60 yo its 1200mg).  Here are some ideas I recently shared with a client (who by the way- doesn’t eat nuts or seeds- which are another great source of Ca+)

Morning ideas:

Fortified juice/non-dairy milk (6 oz)   200-260mg

Fortified High Fiber Cereal (eg. Total RB) (8 oz)  1000mg

Blackstrap Molasses (1 tbsp) on toast  130mg

Lunch and Dinner ideas:

Protein Sources: per 1 cup serving

Garbanzo beans, cooked  340 mg

Soybeans, cooked   450 mg

Tofu, firm  (w calcium suffate) 400 mg

Tempeh  215 mg

Vegetables – per 1 cup serving

Turnip greens, cooked  450 mg

Nettles, blanched  428mg

Spinach, cooked  250 mg

Collard greens, cooked  260 mg

Mustard greens, cooked 100 mg

Bok choy, cooked 158 mg

Kale, cooked 100 mg

Broccoli, cooked 100 mg

Misc sources:

Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp.) 130 mg

Tahini (2 tbsp)  128mg

Dried figs (3 oz.) 100 mg

Dried apricots (3 oz.)  80 mg

Nettle (cold) infusion:

1 cup dried nettle leaf (available in most health food stores in the bulk culinary herb section)

4 cups cold water – steep overnight, strain and drink.

Nettles can also be used like spinach in soups, eggs etc…

Kale & Blueberry Salad

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So Northern California hasn’t been quite as blazing hot as the rest of the country, ok to be honest, here in the Bay Area it has hardly been hot at all….BUT…I was still craving a summer dish to serve at an impromptu brunch for my family from out of town.

Saw some gorgeous quartered watermelon pieces at Whole Foods and was inspired to serve a summer favorite, Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad.

Sometimes I just serve the watermelon, mint and feta version but since I knew I had 8 or so people coming I wanted to bulk the salad up with arugula.  It was a hit and most of my aunt’s and uncles had never tried the lovely combination of slightly salty feta and sweet watermelon.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish or for a main meal serves 4

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 large orange

Juice of 2 small lemons

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon of honey (ideally local!)

1/4 Cup of good quality olive oil

1/4 of a medium perfectly ripe watermelon (look for a deep red color and seedless makes it easy),

8-10 oz of good quality feta cheese (you can get low or no fat feta but for the real flavor kick go full fat, especially if the rest of the meal is light)

1 small bunch of mint

1 bag/6 cups of Arugula (washed and spun dry)

Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop up the watermelon into bite-sized chunks about 1″ squares

2. Cut the feta into bite-sized chunks about 1/2″ squares

3. Pluck the mint leaves from the branches and rinse, then roll into mini cigar shapes and slice into thin strips

4. Whisk or vigorously mix the citrus,honey, shallot, salt & pepper and olive oil to make the dressing which can be set aside until ready to serve

(I often use less than the full amount of dressing but this depends on your taste, extra dressing can be refrigerated for upto 3 days).

5. When ready to serve, toss the mint, arugula, watermelon and feta with the dressing

Isn’t that pretty!

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I talk with my clients a lot about “mindful eating” and the key tenant of slowing down and noticing if you are really hungry.  Another part of it all is thinking of meals and food as a gift and treating your eating time & place as a wonderful opportunity for ritual.  We already surround lots of other rituals with food but what about surrounding the food itself in rituals.

A moment of thankfulness before the meal.  A toast.  The perfect dinner music and an open window with a breeze coming in.  A nicely set table with cloth napkins and candles, even if it’s just for you.  A beautiful arrangement on your plate with a balance of texture of color, even if its just yesterdays take-out with some fresh tomatoes added on the plate rim. Want more? Learn to turn your carrot hunks into flowers or heck– just sprinkle real edible flowers ad libitum.

One client shared her gorgeous meal photo with me and agreed that she fills fuller now that she has an eye “full” and is slowing down.

Sharing her colorful camera phone pic with you and hope are inspired– I know I was!

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Since spring is playing peek-a-boo with us….its time to get ready for an easy spring salad!  I like to add no-fat feta from Trader Joe’s for a protein kick in there as well.

From the American Institute of Cancer Research.

A versatile salad like this one is perfect for those who want to add cancer-protective foods to their diet, but are just starting to transition from a meat-based plate. Tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion make an excellent side salad or use them as a meal base by adding a lean protein like low-fat cheese or chicken.  An added bonus: tomatoes are rich in the phytochemical, lycopene, which scientists believe may play a role in protecting against prostate cancer.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Parsley and Mint
4 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley and mint. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and mustard. Add to tomato mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 60 calories, 3 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 45 mg sodium.

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Perhaps it is because I have been sitting more than usual (mostly in the car and at my desk) that I wanted to devote a post to the power of moving the body.  Of course I am sitting as I write this but the sit-all-day phenomena really hit me last week after another day of bed to driving chair to office chair to dinner table chair to home office chair to bed. I was so thankful to be able to break up this routine a bit by going for a run in my neighborhood after an almost 2 hours in traffic but I am also working on ways on getting more movement in to my work day as well.

One tip includes making many more stops to the water cooler to fill up on water or hot water for decaf tea (my favorite lately is the Pomegranate White Tea from Trader Joes).  The side benefit of so much more fluid intake (which we all know is key for good health) is that it increases the trips to the bathroom.  More steps in my day!

Speaking of steps, getting a pedometer is another way to track and monitor your movement and challenge yourself to go a few more steps each day.  If you can get 10,000 steps in your day that is the equivalent of walking about 5 miles!

Steps per day Activity Level
<5,000 Sedentary
5,000-7,499 Low Active
7,500-9,999 Somewhat Active
10,000-12,500 Active
>12,500 Highly Active

Another ways to get moving from your desk job…try a trip to your co-workers cubicle to give her/him the message rather than picking up the phone or sending an email.  Take a walking lunch or walk to get your lunch instead of driving.  Finding a buddy to do this with you may keep you motivated and make it more fun too. Use those stairs as much as possible and you can even do a few “sets” of stairs if the weather is not inviting you to go outside.  Of course you can park farther away or get off at the bus/train stop just before or after yours and be sure to pick up the pace when you walk so that you can count it as exercise rather than a leisurely stroll.  We like to say think about walking as if you were late for the train.  This makes it a “moderate” intensity activity (vs jogging which would be vigorous intensity) and another good way to check is to see if you are breaking a sweat but can still talk (but not sing).

The American Heart Association and American Council on Sports Medicine recommend that to stay fit and maintain their weight most Americans get 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio for 5 days a week  OR do vigorous intense cardio for 20 minutes 3 days a week AND do 8-10 strength training exercises (with 8-12 reps of each) twice (2X) a week.   To lose weight atleast 60 minutes of cardio is recommended as well as the strength training.

You can break the 150 minute recommendation into whatever chunks suit your schedule- whether that is 10 min bursts throughout the day (but do at least 10 min) or longer chunks a few times a week.

How are you going to move more this week?

Check out the guidelines here along with some good tips on getting started.

Take a break from a hike by climbing a tree!

 

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Tonight was one of those nights.  I was tired after work and uninspired to cook/shop or even deal with food at all.  I knew we had some leftovers, boiled baby potatoes and string beans along with a side of grilled asparagus (some gorgeous early spring ones) but we had eaten the fish portion of the dinner last night.  A small round white light bulb went off.  Eggs! After contemplating making a quiche (too much work for the mood I was in) I just heated the pile of leftovers up in one big pan and served them with light fluffy scrambled eggs with some herbs and a splash of milk (all cooked in the same pan…less to wash).   A bit odd for dinner at first, but then I put some French music on and savored in the time dinner didn’t take to make.  Literally 10 minutes to heat up and scramble.

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast!  They are a great source of protein (~6g per egg or about 10% of your daily needs) as well as vitamins A, D and B12, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants) and the nutrient choline.  They last a while in the fridge (2-3 weeks at least) and take very little time to cook.

Of course there is the cholesterol thing (an egg contains ~ 215 milligrams of cholesterol) but I tell my clients not to be afraid of eggs since the cholesterol is still under the recommendation of <300mg/day).  If you are watching your weight, you could do the egg white thing and get all the protein without the ~5 grams of fat contained in an egg yolk. A large egg is 70 calories.

And by the way, don’t get too overwhelmed in the egg section.  While you can choose organic, fertile, free-range, different sizes and brown or white, there is no nutritional differences between them.

Got more egg questions?  Check out the American Egg Board FAQs or a handy guide from the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA/eggs)

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